Gang violence and young people being coerced into crime are issues to be researched at a new Centre for Policing and Prevention being established by Malmö University, thanks to a donation of 30 million Swedish kronor.

“We hope to link research and police work so that new approaches can be developed through an increased exchange between practice and academia,” says Anna-Karin Ivert, assistant professor of Criminology and Head of the Department of Criminology.

The recruitment of children into serious gang crime and the ruthless killing that goes on must be prevented in every possible way.

Susanne Bäsk, CEO of Länsförsäkringar Skåne

Along with Ivert, Caroline Mellgren, assistant professor of criminology and head of the unit for police work, and Manne Gerell, associate professor of criminology at the Department of Criminology, form the steering group that will lead the development of the centre.

The donation of 30 million SEK comes from the insurance alliance Länsförsäkringar Skåne.

It will be distributed over five years, but the steering group believe that this is only the beginning of something bigger. “This is a first step in a more comprehensive effort where we hope to attract more money and develop a research centre that is of real benefit in the long term,' says Gerell.

Several researchers and doctoral students will be attached to the centre, a recruitment process that will begin immediately. The idea is to build on existing research at Malmö University, initially focusing on three themes:

  • strategies to counteract serious violence and the recruitment of young people to crime
  • preventive work in the local community to reduce crime and increase safety
  • effective and legally secure criminal investigation with new technology

“The recruitment of children into serious gang crime and the ruthless killing that goes on must be prevented in every possible way. What is happening is a tragedy for those affected, the children, the families and society. Our donation contributes to a new research centre where conditions are created for developing and evaluating new methods that can reduce the recruitment of children and make the fight against serious gang crime more effective," says Susanne Bäsk, CEO of Länsförsäkringar Skåne.

The donation is one of three parts of an investment totalling 50 million SEK that Länsförsäkringar Scania is making over the next five years.The other parts of the donation will be used for prevention work among children and young people.

For Malmö University, the initiative is an important and long-awaited step.

"We have long wanted to see a centre for police research in Malmö, and the fact that it is now becoming a reality is of course extremely gratifying. It provides opportunities to develop the already strong research underway at the Department of Criminology and the Unit for Police Work," says Vice-Chancellor Kerstin Tham.

Text: Cecilia Lindberg and Adrian Grist